Sunday, July 29, 2012

Peach Cobbler

I love peaches.  They are one of my very favorite fruits.  I brought home a half-bag of them last week from the Walpole farmer's market.  By Saturday, they had all ripened all at once.  I still had a few left over from the grocery store as well.  Too many to eat and it would be a sin to let them all go to waste!  So I baked them all into a peach cobbler last night.  I very rarely make this, since I normally don't have that many fresh peaches on hand.

It smelled delicious when it came out of the oven.  I could barely wait for it to cool a bit, before helping myself to a big scoop with some ice cream.  Yum!

Hmm... I've made myself hungry writing about it.  I may have help myself to some of the leftovers.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Mow the Lawn

Pinniped and Bertie love being outside, as have most of the guinea pigs I've had over the years.  As we sit and watch them stuff themselves with fresh grass, we often wondered how many pigs it would take to mow the lawn.  It's never any fun to haul out the mower, especially on a hot Saturday when you'd rather be doing something fun.  The pigs seem to enjoy themselves - why not have them do it?

Well, wonder no more!  I stumbled across an entertaining online calculator that determines how many guinea pigs you'd need to mow your lawn (along with an assortment of other animals).

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Toes Together

Bertie's toes all together
I caught Bertie the other night attempting a Superman pose.  This is a classic guinea pig pose in which the front legs are parallel and stick straight away from the body, with the paws beyond the pig's nose (there's some good pics of this at the Cali Cavy Collective).  It's a resting pose that Pinniped has long since mastered.

Bertie had the toes together and the weight on the forearms, but her paws remained under her chin.  To top it off, both legs looked like they were under her left side of her body; I wondered how she didn't roll over onto her right side!  I think she needs to ask Pinni for pointers.  Still, all of those little toes in a row looked pretty cute.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Dog Days

It's been hot. We have an old house, which takes several days to retain the heat. Therefore, we have not bothered installing the AC downstairs this year.  After a couple of warm evenings, though, the house is heating up, and all of us are reacting to the warmth.  The pigs have been blobby.  So have the humans.

I peeked in the cage last night to find a pair of guinea pig puddles.  They're not totally spread out, yet, but they're working on it.  Begging is at a minimum unless they know veggies are about to arrive.  There's no movement as I walk through the kitchen, but I do see noses when I come to the cage bearing gifts.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

I Have a Chirper

For the first time, since Athena, I have a chirper.

Eclair, my first chirper
For those of you unfamiliar with guinea pigs, they can make a sound that is sometimes described as a twittering bird.  I think it sounds more like a squeaky fan belt or an alarmed chipmunk.  In my experience, their favorite time to make this sound is at 3 am.  I mistook Eclair's chirping, when I first heard it, as the refrigerator dying.  I'd stumble out of bed in the middle of the night to see what was the matter, and by the time I got to the kitchen, it would stop.  It took several nights of this before I had the inkling it wasn't a mechanical sound.  I found it odd that it always stopped the minute I stepped on a creaky floor board.  The next time it happened, I tip-toed down the stairs towards the kitchen to find Eclair chirping away.  Rotten rodent.

I've heard similar stories from others, who were awakened in the middle of the night, envisioning various mechanical failures, only to discover a smug guinea pig serenading their cagemates.

And some of you wonder why I keep a stew pot on hand.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Gobs of Greens

Look at all those veggies!  I was amazed at my CSA haul this week, my half of a half-share.  Granted, I augmented it a little from the extras bin (full half-share of red choi, kale beets and a few carrots).

The guinea pigs are happy with their carrot tops.  They'll also get a few ends of the kale.  Rob says they can have the carrots, too, but that's just because he doesn't want me cooking them up and hiding them in his dinner. 

I see salads, greens stew, stuffed squash and zucchini bread or fritters in my near future.  I just need to find the time to prepare it all.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Serendipitous Cookies

Bag o' cookies -- with several missing

Mmm...  Chocolate chip cookies.

Last week one of my coworker asked if I would please (please, please) demo a few of her topics for our sprint review?  What could she offer in trade for my help?  Half-jokingly, I said the first thing that popped into my head:  chocolate chip cookies.

It wasn't an entirely random thought.  When I was sick last summer, she had appeared on my doorstep one evening with some fudge a tin of homemade cookies.  It was such an unexpected gift.  The visit and the cookies were a bright spot after being cooped up for days.  Obviously, the cookies made an impression that stuck with me.

So, my fee for helping out was cookies.  She quickly agreed and the deal was struck.

Monday evening I got back from the gym to discover a bag of chocolate chip cookies on the kitchen counter.  Rob laughed when I walked in the room and stopped mid-sentence to exclaim: "Cookies!"  He had been instructed not to touch them.  The timing couldn't be better; it had been a grueling class.  I immediately set out to ruin any benefits of my workout with several cookies and a glass of milk.  Ah - what a way to end the day!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

New Pig Patrol Shirt

Original shirt and new-and-improved Pig Patrol shirt
Woot!  My new Pig Patrol shirt for the Boston Pignic arrived in the mail this weekend.

Tammy designed the original shirts for the 2010 pignic season and they were an instant hit. The Boston Pignic had grown very rapidly in just a few years.  It was impossible  for Tammy and I to watch pigs, direct people and answer questions all at the same time.  It was quite stressful to juggle it all.  So we asked for some guinea pig savvy people to volunteer, and the Pig Patrol was born.  Volunteers helped set up pens, get people signed in and inspect guinea pigs that wished entry to the common pens.  They answered all sorts of questions about health, diet, habitat and clipped dozens of guinea pigs' nails. 

Pig Patrol volunteers enjoying a moment of cute
The bright green shirts was a fantastic idea (thanks Tammy!).  It made the Pig Patrol immediately identifiable to pignic attendees and fellow patrollers.  I could effortlessly spot who was watching the pens and easily direct people to Patrol members who could answer questions or examine guinea pigs.

The original shirts had been a fairly last minute idea and the artwork had been simply ironed on.  I'm impressed my shirt has hung together so well, but it's starting to lose the lettering in the front.  So I am excited to get the new silkscreen shirt.  I love the new lettering and the tagline of "...i'm here to help!"  I anticipate this shirt will be around for many pignics to come.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Lost Teacup

I hosted a tea in March and had to retire two of my grandmother's teacups due to cracks.  One of the cracked teacups was only discovered after it leaked all over it's saucer.  I was relieved the hot tea didn't cause it to burst.

I received a half dozen vintage teacups from my mother as an early birthday present.  Two of them are already my new favorites.  Hmmm... was Mom making sure I have enough teacups to guarantee an invite to my next tea?

I had to shuffle my existing cups around to make room on the shelf for the new ones.  This evening I walked in and discovered the leaky cup had cracked in half.  It was in one piece just a few days before!  Perhaps it was the recent heat and humidity?  It was just so odd to find it half standing, half laying on it's saucer.

I'm bummed out to have lost one of Gram's cups like this.  On the other hand, it had been used and well loved.  Grammie would have approved of that.  I guess it leaves me with a bit more shelf space for the new cups.  I'll have to host another tea so we can try them out.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Medicating Pinniped

I found red pee stains in the cage last month.  <sigh>  At least there hasn't been any sludge stains, which is good news.  I called the vet and came home with a bottle of Baytril.  It is not, by a long-shot, Pinni's favorite medication.  To top it off, the dose was pretty big all at once:  1ml once a day.

Liquid medication is so much easier to give to a guinea pig than pills.  However, you need to be careful.  Too much at once can choke a pig if they inhale it or they may spit it out, at which point they haven't gotten the amount of medication they need.

One ml is too much for Pinni to swallow in one go, but she can handle 0.5ml at a time with no problem.  I'm not good at giving medication slowly or squirting in just half a syringeful, so I end up drawing the meds twice.  The one-two dose approach isn't always easy either, because she knows what's coming when I grab her the second time.  It's amazing the strength a little rodent has, especially when it DOES NOT WANT.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Back Step Confession

I've seen at the Boston Pignic how grazing guinea pigs can attract a passer-by to stop and watch.  A few weekends ago I got to see this in action in my own back yard.  We had the pigs out one evening for less than an hour before it came to the attention of The Girls Next Door and their friend.  It was fun.  They fed clover and dandelion leaves to the pigs, told me what adventures they had been up to and showed off their ability to do cartwheels in the yard.  It was the typical all-over-the-place conversation of young girls and I enjoyed taking it all in. 

One of the twins, her friend and I ended up sitting on the back steps to watch the pigs and chat about our summer plans.  The subject matter meandered and at some point the friend confessed she had believed I was a mean person because mean people lived in our house.  (I'm not sure how that rumor came about, since the landlord and his family, who lived here before us, are the some of nicest people I've met.)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Tomatoes and Peppers

I'm not a big gardener but I dabble a bit:  some flowers and a few veggies.  My dad gives me a potted tomato plant every year, and I used to keep a small vegetable patch in Walpole with my upstairs neighbor. 

My current place is quite shady; there's no place to put in a garden.   One very small corner of the patio gets a good bit if sun late morning through early afternoon.  That's where the tomato goes.  Must be a good spot, because last year I got a volunteer tomato that attempted to grow between the bricks.  It even produced a tomato before something ate the tomato and Irene ripped out the plant.  Bummer.

This year, in addition to my tomato-in-a-cauldron, Dad gave me a second tomato that needed to be re-potted and a tiny pepper plant.  I didn't have a large enough contain for the tomato, so I stuck it in the ground next to the patio.  It's this tiny little plant that hardly looks like much, except that it has a dozen tomatoes on it!  I've staked it up as best I can.  Look at all those tomatoes!

The little plant that could, the mutant pepper and my big tomato plant

Dad said I could have tomatoes by the 4th of July.  I don't think they're going to ripen quite that fast.  But I'm looking forward to some of them soon.

The cauldron tomato looks lush and healthy.  Dad often gives me two types of tomatoes in the single pot.  There are several buds on the one plant and a few plum tomatoes growing on the other.

The poor pepper is stunted.  My dad warned me it may have problems.  It has at least peppers on it, though, and one has turned red.  It's quite leafy, even though it's only 8" high

I can't wait for those tomatoes!  Thanks, Dad!